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Dan Mahowny was a rising star at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. At twenty-four he was assistant manager of a major branch in the heart of Toronto's financial district. To his colleagues he was a workaholic. To his customers, he was astute, decisive and helpful. To his friends, he was a quiet, but humorous man who enjoyed watching sports on television. To his girlfriend, he was shy but engaging. None of them knew the other side of Dan Mahowny--the side that executed the largest single-handed bank fraud in Canadian history, grossing over $10 million in eighteen months to feed his gambling obsession. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
In "Owning Mahowny," Philip Seymour Hoffman proved before his Oscar win to be one of the great actors of his generation, playing a compulsive gambler who embezzles millions from his employer, a bank. Dracula is in charge of the blood bank.
Mahowny is a fascinating character. He's a cheap slob who drives an old car. Though he loves his girlfriend (Minnie Driver), he hasn't confided in her. In fact, he lies to her, as he lies to everyone. His god is gambling -- not money, just gambling. As Frank Perlin (Maury Chaykin), one of the guys who takes his action attests, "He just wants to have the money to lose."
We watch Mahowny get in deeper and deeper, creating false loans and stealing from his clients. He becomes a VIP at an Atlantic City casino where he is given the best of everything and offered even more, but he's not going to do anything that takes away from his time at the tables. Unbeknownst to him, the Feds are interested in some of his associates and become curious about this Mahowny guy, thinking he may be in on a drug racket.
This movie will keep you hooked throughout. Hoffman is brilliant and even sports a Canadian accent (the film was made there and the real Mahowny is Canadian). Hoffman comes from my home town, and as we are close to Canada, he is familiar with the accent.
The rest of the acting is uniformly good, with the standout being the remarkable John Hurt as the casino owner who wants Mahowny to keep throwing money at the casino and will do anything to keep him there. The insight into the gambling world is amazing, and may keep you away from the tables the next time you're in Vegas or Atlantic City.
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